There were some tense moments for students and staff at Millwood High School Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly after the lunch break started, the school was placed on lockdown after police got a tip about a young person in the area with guns.
“We heard over the P.A. [system] we were in a lockdown — I thought it was a drill because we just had a hold and secure earlier at the start of the day,” said Grade 12 student Alex Billard.
With students on lunch, they were sent scrambling to the closest classroom they could find when the lockdown was imposed.
“The teacher started pushing everybody to the back and putting us behind tables and trying to move tables around,” said Grade 10 student, Jessica Duchesme.
“You hide in the corner and turn the lights off, just make it seem like no one is in the classroom, so if there is someone with a weapon walking around, that we are not seen and it makes it look like we’re not in there,” added Billard.
Officials say there was no threat at the school itself, but there was one in the area.
“Police did look in the building thinking a suspect may be in the building, but it was quickly determined they were not,” said Doug Hadley, spokesperson with the Halifax Regional School Board.
Difference between hold and secure and lockdown procedures
While police searched for a suspect, nearby Millwood Elementary was placed on a hold and secure as a precaution.
“The difference is that in a hold and secure, people can still move around within the building where as with a lockdown, they are to remain in a secure area until they are given the all clear,” said Hadley.
Dozens of police officers, many armed with carbines, could be seen investigating near the school for much of the afternoon.
“The officers that responded to the scene responded with a level of intervention that they feel was appropriate to the threat that was perceived,” said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, spokesperson for the Nova Scotia RCMP.
Two male youths were arrested in connection with the weapons complaint.
Police won’t say if they are students at Millwood High, but confirm they found a duffle bag of weapons and ammunition in the woods near the school.
“I’ve been a nervous wreck and now I’m just happy to get her and go home,” said parent Jenny Duchesme, as she picked up her daughter.
“You don’t really hear much about this around here so, it’s pretty dramatic.”